A picture is worth a thousand words

15 Sep

kendraThat quote is an English language idiom. It refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. This week that notion stoked a fire, one that has been lazy and distracted by the passing days.

This photo spoke straight to my heart and gave me such renewed energy. My new friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and was given her Warrior Angels “swag bag”.  She immediately went home put on the gear, and sent me a thank you for the bag. In the midst of her diagnosis literally hours before this photo she stopped to say thank you!

So what does the photo say to me, it is the absolute confirmation that what Warrior Angels does, makes a difference to that woman receiving that scary diagnosis. The items may not seem special when I tell you there is a surgical cap, water bottle, t-shirt, lip gloss, a journal and information regarding the diagnosis, but one look at her face confirms that those items are special and they matter.

What started as coffee talk, a small idea 8 years ago has grown and so many women have been touched. I don’t always hear from them, and that’s okay I know they are getting the bag… But, when I do and I see pictures like this the overwhelming emotion I feel is indescribable.

This photo stoked the fire in my belly that has just been smoking the last few years. It has inspired me to write, and to do some overhauling to Warrior Angels. Soon I will be unveiling a brand new website, that will have a donation button! I am also planning a much overdue fundraiser, it wont be a run but it will be fun! I am toying with the idea of maybe putting t-shirts on the site for sale… and I am thinking of what I can add to the bag… As Pooh said, “think, think, think”

I continue to be grateful for all I have, and for all of the beautiful people who have come into my life through Warrior Angels. I hope I can continue to do great things and hopefully provide a soft landing space for those that follow behind me in this journey.





Epic Fail: warning this is dark

16 Jul

Warning: I am mad and forgive the bad language or offense and its a dark post and I am sorry for that…
So a few days ago I was contacted by a friend inquiring if I knew of any organizations that help breast cancer patients families pay for funeral expenses, as she has a friend who is a single mom and loosing her battle.
Well of course there has to be I thought… Well hours of web searches and a desperate email to one of the larger well funded breast cancer non profits I found there are NONE!!! WTF?!?!?! This is an epic fail for all the big well funded breast cancer non profits…
Every October everything goes pink and everyone runs out and buys their shirts, hats, pink ribbon stuff or they participate in runs and walks feeling like they are doing something for the cause… Well you are but not what you think you are… As a breast cancer survivor at my almost 5 year mark and one of the founders of my own non profit I have learned a lot by way of where those monies go, and it will burst your pink bubble…
When we started Warrior Angels it was because we saw that we suck on the front end, we tell women you have breast cancer and send them home with nothing but a horrible, scary diagnosis. So WA created the comfort bags so women would go home with a tool kit to help them on this scary path… We do all we can to try and help and support…
The other larger deeper pocket non profits do well putting money into research, which is needed, but making money available for services is not as easy to get as one would assume it is. And as my current research and inquires have revealed is there is nothing for those who will loose their fight! Why??? I know it’s ugly, taboo, and the topic no one really wants to address but it’s REALITY! Not everyone is going to win, and families in need have no organizations to turn to for financial assistance… There are organizations to help you set up a site to do a fundraiser, really like they have time to do that? Or should have to.
I can not begin to describe how disheartened I am by this revelation and what a helpless feeling it is to tell someone I can’t help because nothing exists… I wish Warrior Angels was in a place to help, and it may be the next challenge I take on, but for now I got nothing and that pisses me off. So we suck at the back end of services just as bad at the front end… And the middle part well there are at least some funds women can seek to help if they have the right provider to help with the red tape or they live in the service area that organization has an affiliate office….
So the next time you buy your pink ribbon item or get all feel good about your walk or run, do your homework see where your money is really going and how much is actually for service to patients… And I hope you are just as pissed as me that at the one point support could really be used there is no pink ribbon buying monies going to support those who will sadly loose the fight.
Pink bubbles are only pretty till they pop…


4 Sep

It seems like I have spent a lot of time in some form or another in remediation. In elementary school I spent my time in remedial math… Those who know me know that my brain just doesn’t do hard math… When I was at the police department after having my son, I failed to qualify on the firing range so I spent a week in fire arm remediation. And who would have thought that you could be in a remediation with breast cancer… Well if you can I am the girl that would!
As I approach my 4 year mark, I should be on the once a year checkup and mammogram. But, no not me I have sat in the 6 month checkup, and was recently demoted to three month checks… So on Friday I will have yet another diagnostic mammo done with the hope I get promoted out of remediation! So what have I learned about remediation, it makes you one tough chick! Math remediation forced me to learn complicated math, firearms remediation forced me to become a pretty bad ass shooter, and breast cancer remediation has forced me to keep positive forward motion… Some days I walk tall with my chin up, and other days I crawl, but I keep moving!
As we move once again to October and the month of pink I am as always grateful for all that has happened. Warrior Angels will hold its 3rd annual Battle Buddy Boogie, we have been nominated in Pumas Project Pink ( don’t forget to vote September 24th for us) and we continue the mission.
The lesson here is that being remedial is not all that bad, I can only go up from here! I continue to learn and grow with each setback and find greater inner strength with each. So I will rock the remediation and press on!
Stay sassy!

January= self deprecation

8 Feb

So I have decided January shall forever now be known as the month of self-deprecation! I have been thinking a lot about what goes on in the month of January… on Facebook we complain about the over indulgences of the holidays, and the lack of exercise. On TV every commercial reminds us bikini season is just around the next corner… We spend endless hours in front of mirrors examining and critiquing every wrinkle, dimple and area of cellulite… and for those of us in the sisterhood of pink we have breasts that turned against us and went bad… For most of us we have to accept there is no recourse… no Botox or exercise will remove the deformity, the scars, or the empty spaces. I am guilty and will admit I engage in lots of self-deprecation, usually out loud and in good fun, but I always ask my self WHY are we so hard on ourselves??????

Well I for one am done with it and think its time we turn it around! I have decided that my scars and deformed little boobie is in fact a badge of courage! It’s a constant reminder of just how much I have overcome… the wrinkles on my face tell a story and they are proof I have lived life, and felt all of it with my heart. We need to stop the insanity! If we look back in time pin-up girls were voluptuous and full-bodied and bombshells! At our funerals I doubt anyone will comment on our size of dress, but they will comment on who we were and what we leave behind as our legacy.

I think we need to band together and take back January! Yes, bikini season is sneaking up on us, but I am going to be okay with healthy, lop sided and wrinkly… and remember ladies tan (fake or natural) hides a lot of sins!!!

Stay Sassy!



Sisterhood of pink

13 Oct

October 13th 2009 I joined a special sisterhood. The sisterhood of survivors!  This October 13th marks my 3 year mark, which means I am that much closer to the magical 5 year mark. What a ride this has been thus far!!!! As I pause and reflect I am simply just amazed at all I have faced and overcome… I was recently asked by a friend facing a medical issue how I have stayed so positive and strong in these last few years and with everything I have been through… I was stumped for an answer, because there is no good witty response. In reality I should be anything but that… In the last three years I have had my world turned completely upside down. I have faced breast cancer, surgeries, treatment, attempts at reconstruction, infidelity and the end of a marriage, adjusting to a different style of living as a single mom to two amazing boys, and balancing work and life in general… At any point in this journey it would be so easy to just be “debbie downer”, but it has been in those dark, scary moments where I have been forced to MOVE towards the other side and something better.

Every time I face days where the stress, or pain feels like a thousand pounds and I would rather hide under the blankets, something amazing happens. Nine times out of ten it has been related to Warrior Angels and the amazing sisterhood of survivors and sassy sisters fighting like a girl… I have bonded with women whom I have never met in person, but they are my sisters and the support we give to one another is beyond any description. We know with out a doubt that no matter what we would be there for each other and the only string that holds us together is pink. Warrior Angels has brought so many amazing people and opportunities in my life, that I could have never imagined the joy and satisfaction I would experience when Shannon and I started this. I am so humbled and grateful for each and every moment.

So I have pondered over the answer to my friends question, and my answer is this: Every experience we have good or bad is an opportunity to learn and grow. We have to dig deep and remind ourselves its only temporary, we will come out on the other side stronger and better. Each of these experiences are also opportunities to take the lesson learned and help others in some way. When we learn the hard way, we get to throw a few cushions down to those behind us so their fall wont hurt as bad as ours. Ask yourself, Why not me??? Because, in the end there is a reason… It also takes so much more draining energy and work to be miserable, it is so much easier to just be happy and play the cards dealt the best you can.

I still do not have the pearl of wisdom or witty response… but I do know that I am so proud to be a part of my sisterhood of pink. So at my three year mark I am glad I was the one diagnosed with breast cancer and have gone through all that I have, because now I can do my very best to ease the path for those who follow.

In his Last Lecture Randy Pausch says “We can choose to be a Tigger or an Eeyore.” Like him I choose Tigger, and I hope you will too. TTFN!

Stay sassy!

xoxo Kris

All things for a reason

29 Aug

I am a firm believer that all things happen for a reason. We may not understand it at the moment, but usually at some point we realize we had something to learn or gain. Roughly 3 summers ago I was at one of my annual conferences at the beach. One of the evenings at dinner, there was a beautiful woman seated next to my table with her friend and two children. I was at my table with my boys and throughout the dinner this woman and I kept staring at each other… she looked SO familiar, but I just could not place why. I was far from home, at the beach, attending a conference. At some point my boys got up to go wash their hands, and she finally looked at me and said ” Where do I know you from?”, I said I had been sitting and puzzling over the same question. So we began running through the usual, where we lived, worked… She finally asked me ” Have you ever been to Duke for anything?”, I paused a moment and said Yes, I had been there during my breast cancer treatment to see a specialist, that must be it! Her response was, “Well maybe, but probably not, I have cancerous tumor in my brain, so we would not have been in the same place”.

At that point we started talking about our cancers, and treatments. We became fast friends in the 15 minutes we spent talking at the table. We exchanged contact information, and the next day I had a facebook friend request, and a message from her in my inbox. She wrote that she felt the God wanted us to meet and be friends for a reason, that she had said a prayer for me and my treatment, and felt that there was a reason bigger than us that we were to be friends. So from that point on we were friends… This was yet one more example of why I say my breast cancer is a blessing, had it not been for that commonality we would have chalked up the encounter to being those people with “one of those faces”.

My friend, today, succumbed to her cancer, but not with out one heck of a fight. She was an amazing soul who loved life, a devoted mother and wife, and an example of what christianity should look like. I know she was meant to be my friend, because she has been an example of strength and grace in adversity and setbacks. She had an amazing attitude despite the crippling effect her tumor caused. The last year I have followed her through her husbands journaling, and they were such an amazing example of true, beautiful love… They are truly inspirational… I have learned so much from them, and will be forever grateful that I was given the chance to know her.

I dont believe in coincidence, it is all for a reason. We may not understand it now, but be patient and pay attention because in time it will make sense…

RIP my friend…


24 Aug

I do not put much stock in the whole horoscope thing, but I do take a guilty pleasure of having an app on my phone and checking it… you know just in case 😉   This morning I was having a little pity party for myself. As a result of surgeries and treatment, I have not been able to rebuild the strength or range of motion in my left arm/shoulder… this has been very frustrating to me because I want to be 100% with no limitations. So, last night at the gym part of our WOD was shoulder presses, and I struggled and failed several times to press a non-embarrising amount of weight ( please note my idea of embarrassment and that of others will be extremely skewed). I had to resist the urge to cry, break down and just quit… it was just one of those nights.

But, I didn’t quit and kept on with the WOD and instead of crying just got mad and pushed ahead.

My horoscope today read ” Rain, rain go away, come again some other day. That refrain has been sung by children for many generations in hopes of chasing the rain away so they could play. But rain is necessary. It makes the flowers grow, it provides us with water, and so much more. You may now be wishing away a period of your life because it is difficult. you understandably want to get to a happier part of your life. But the rain, or the dark period, that you are experiencing now is necessary too. Immerse yourself in it and find a good way to get something good out of it. Good times are coming soon enough.”

So today I am putting some stock in the Libra horoscope, because I received another affirmation today from a beautiful woman recently diagnosed and a recipient of a Warrior Angels bag. It seems every time I find myself frustrated, or under a dark cloud, a huge bright light finds its way through to remind me why my breast cancer and all of its struggles has actually been a great blessing. So I will embrace and immerse myself in the “rain” and know it too shall pass… All things in due time, I will just have to continue to work hard and push through that frustration and remind myself that in time it will come…

So we all have rain and dark periods, they are just a fact of life. But, I hope you remember there is bright light hiding behind the dark clouds, and in time it shows itself, and yes, rain is a good thing it brings growth.

It also does not hurt to indulge in a horoscope every now and again, just in case…

Stay Sassy!

xoxo Kris